Top executives at Danish brewery Carlsberg’s Indian subsidiary allegedly made cash payments under the table to government officials over a period of 18 months, Danish newspaper Berlingske reported on Monday. The company launched a thorough audit in India after the revelation.

The payments were reportedly made to ensure swifter regulatory processing time and to get manufacturing terms for an Indian Carlsberg brewery that were more suited to the company. The bureaucrats to whom the payments were made are in charge of excise, regulatory oversight and issuance of permits to breweries in the country.

The Danish newspaper possess evidence, which purportedly showed that over 200 payments had been made to government officials between 2015 and 2016. A number of payments were apparently cleared by an Indian citizen, who was a board member of the company’s Indian subsidiary back then.

Kasper Elbjørn, Carlsberg’s director of international and danish media, said that a few of the material on the alleged bribes, which were in possession of the newspaper, was produced before the company in 2017. However, the disclosure was made in relation to a staff member, who claimed to have been wrongfully sacked, the statement said.

The former employee wanted the company to pay him $2 million and also threatened to go public with the information, Elbjørn said. The Danish brewing company initiated a review, which concluded that the employee’s alleged firing was in fact a resignation and all the due procedure had been followed.

The company’s review also revealed that the allegations about the bribes could not be proved. However, Carlsberg now stated that the Danish newspaper had a lot more proof than the material presented to them. The brewing company launched the extensive audit after Berlingske approached it two weeks ago.

The material, which has been vetted by experts, indicate that the payments were made as a bribe in violation of the Danish Criminal Code. The payments were reportedly made every month.

The newspaper also has confirmation from three important anonymous sources, who have said that the company’s Indian subsidiary made the secret payments to Indian government officials.

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